Suggestions on documenting employee performance?
August 8, 2005 3:34 PM   Subscribe

Suggestions for organizing and documenting employee performance that can be used in annual reviews?

I'm responsible for writing annual reviews that fall on the employee's anniversary date. There are from 10-12 employees, all with various titles and job duties. The reviews are quite long, and don't involve 360 feedback, so I have to gather, document and maintain a great deal of information, including as many examples as possible to support the review information. I've tried notebooks, notecards, hand-written docs at the end of the day, weekly updates, etc. I never seem to have thorough enough records and really need to hear suggestions for how other people keep track of this stuff that won't take a ton of time. I'm a hands-on manager, so my desk time is very limited and my computer is in public view so keeping documents open all day to add info to doesn't seem to work well. Any suggestions are welcome. I'm willing to try most anything! (P.S. - using a PDA for this is not an option).
posted by cyniczny to Work & Money (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have a similar situation to yours.

You don't mention if your employees have to fill out self-reviews but the employees in my group do. I strongly encourage them to take the time to list every significant thing they've done over the last year. I tell them to really sell themselves and remind anyone who reads their review of their contributions over the last year.

Once I have their self-review, I use that to complete my review of their performance. Their self-reviews remind me of any controversies, great triumphs, missed opportunities, etc. that they contributed to. (Plus, it is interesting to see what they think is significant. Sometimes they let me know that some projects that turned out well were really tough to get through.) I will literally copy/paste parts of their self-reviews into their annual review and they know this.

In short, I let them keep up with everything and they get to remind me of all those things I don't have time to record and remember.
posted by loosemouth at 4:05 PM on August 8, 2005

Best answer: Well, this might not be too useful for the current round, but next time I would consider an adapted version of what the Army does - counseling statements. Performance counseling is critical, and in a well-functioning unit would occurr about once every three months, as well as any other time something significant - good or bad - occurred that could affect their review. Here is an example (pdf) that you can adapt. I suggest this adaptation as a project for one of your underlings. Further, the Officer Evaluation Reports come with a self-assessment "Support Form" that can also easily be adapted. Here is an example (pdf) of that one.

Respectively, those forms are "DA 4856" and "DA 67-9-1". Google search for .pdf or other formats if the links break.
posted by mystyk at 4:55 PM on August 8, 2005

Best answer: Like mystyk's great suggestion, mine won't help you for this round, either...

Once a month, spend a half day writing down notes on all your employees, and then toss them in a file. Talk about projects, problems, thoughts, and feelings. Write down what's in your gut, too, not just what you can document. When it comes time to do your reviews, pull out the 12 sets of them that you've written over the past year, and you'll have a great amount of data for periods of time that you might not otherwise would have remembered. It helps your employee because of the little great moments they've had that you might have forgotten, and helps you because it gives you a full picture of the person.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 7:50 PM on August 8, 2005

If people do project-type work, then they should turn in a self-evaluation report at the end of a project (ideally, with a copy of a tasking document that you initiated the project with).

If people do more recurring things, than (for the future) it could be a very good idea to think about measuring outcomes - number of days to complete tasks, number of errors found in drafts, whatever. Often it's difficult to quantify/measur work directly, in which case the best - and scariest - thing is to ask your customers to rate the quality of the service that they receive. It doesn't take much - a one-page questionnaire, with five or six questions (rate from 1 to 7, say, on various dimensions), plus a general area to write comments, is adequate.

It sounds like you're trying to gather a lot of rather disparate information, which is very difficult to summarize. Better to focus on measuring outcomes, and to get away from (potential) micromanagement [e.g., "Your presentation might have gone better if you had practiced more."]
posted by WestCoaster at 8:31 PM on August 8, 2005

Is your management style "MBWA" (management by walking around")? More formally, you should go to every employee about once a month and ask a specific question about their project. Then go into a general question of how things are going. Listen, don't talk.

Then go back to your office and record the take-away information in a private wiki-page (one for each employee) with links to the task-list wikis (these are public) from your project meeting agenda.

Review the private wiki (and links) before you go and walk around - that will give you the specific question.
posted by mediaddict at 7:35 AM on November 7, 2005

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